utility

[yoo-til-i-tee]
noun, plural utilities.
1.
the state or quality of being useful; usefulness: This chemical has no utility as an agricultural fertilizer.
2.
something useful; a useful thing.
3.
a public service, as a telephone or electric-light system, a streetcar or railroad line, or the like. Compare public utility ( def 1 ).
4.
Often, utilities. a useful or advantageous factor or feature: the relative utilities of a religious or a secular education.
5.
Economics. the capacity of a commodity or a service to satisfy some human want.
6.
the principle and end of utilitarian ethics; well-being or happiness; that which is conducive to the happiness and well-being of the greatest number.
7.
Computers. utility program.
8.
utilities, stocks or bonds of public utilities.
9.
a grade of beef immediately below commercial.
adjective
10.
(of domestic animals) raised or kept as a potentially profitable product rather than for show or as pets: utility breeds; utility livestock.
11.
having or made for a number of useful or practical purposes rather than a single, specialized one: a utility knife.
12.
designed chiefly for use or service rather than beauty, high quality, or the like: a utility vehicle; utility furniture.

Origin:
1350–1400; Middle English utilite < Old French utelite < Latin ūtilitās, equivalent to ūtil(is) useful (see utile) + -itās -ity

nonutility, noun, plural nonutilities.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Collins
World English Dictionary
utility (juːˈtɪlɪtɪ)
 
n , pl -ties
1.  a.  the quality of practical use; usefulness; serviceability
 b.  (as modifier): a utility fabric
2.  something useful
3.  a.  a public service, such as the bus system; public utility
 b.  (as modifier): utility vehicle
4.  economics
 a.  the ability of a commodity to satisfy human wants
 b.  See disutility the amount of such satisfaction
5.  statistics
 a.  a measure of the total benefit or disadvantage attaching to each of a set of alternative courses of action
 b.  expected utility See also decision theory (as modifier): utility function
6.  (Austral), (NZ) utility truck, Also called: ute a small truck with an open body and low sides, often with a removable tarpaulin cover; pick-up
7.  a piece of computer software designed for a routine task, such as examining or copying files
 
[C14: from Old French utelite, from Latin ūtilitās usefulness, from ūtī to use]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

utility
1391, "fact of being useful," from O.Fr. utilite "usefulness" (1291), earlier utilitet (12c.), from L. utilitatem (nom. utilitas) "usefulness, serviceableness, profit," from utilis "usable," from uti (see use). As a shortened form of public utility it is recorded from 1930.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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FOLDOC
Computing Dictionary

utility definition


utility software

The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010 http://foldoc.org
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Encyclopedia Britannica
Encyclopedia

utility

in economics, the determination of the prices of goods and services.

Learn more about utility with a free trial on Britannica.com.

Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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Example sentences
The only immediate utility of all sciences, is to teach us, how to control and
  regulate future events by their causes.
Hence this extraordinarily rich utility of machines for so extremely varied
  branches of industry.
The demand for those metals arises partly from their utility, and partly from
  their beauty.
They stink at statistics and rarely maximize utility.
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